Apple iPod Shuffle 2G
Life's still random, just smaller...
Preview The first iPod Shuffle was something of a surprise. Apple had already said it didn't think too much of Flash-based, low-capacity players, though that's just what the Shuffle was. It didn't even have a screen, unlike so many of its rivals, forcing many an observer to wonder who'd buy the thing. People did though, and the compact player proved remarkably popular...
Did Apple meet a need, or were consumer too awed by the iPod brand? Maybe a little of both, but mostly it hit the right price point. Whatever, the Shuffle found its niche. Even when Apple shipped a comparably capacious Nano, it couldn't bring itself to drop the Shuffle. Quite the reverse, it's since gone on to redesign it completely, this time focusing on getting the size down to pitch the product, true or not, as the world's smallest digital music player.
The Shuffle ships in the same clear plastic case as the second-generation iPod Nano, so expect to have to download iTunes from Apple's website if you don't have it already. Hidden behind the player are a pair of Apple's old-style iPod earphones - oddly, not the new set the debuted with the 2G Nano - foam covers, the customary quick-start guide and - for the first time in ages - a bundled dock.
This is no philanthropy on Apple's part, a bid to save the Shuffle 2G buyer a further $19 on an accessory, but something of a necessity. The Shuffle slots sideways into the dock, locking onto a 3.5mm earphone jack integrated into the cradle. The dock doubles up as a USB cable, as you'd expect, but this time the player's earphone socket connections are used for data transfer and to feed the battery.
Given the size of the Shuffle, it's a clever solution. That said, I miss the integrated USB port - look, ma, no wires - of its predecessor. Still, I'd have preferred Apple to build a mini USB port into the player as these are always going to be more readily available than USB-to-3.5mm cables and/or docks. Presumably, Apple decided it was more cost effective to bundle the non-standard dock with the Shuffle than engineer a tiny USB port. Or maybe it just thought users would prefer a dock. Well, this user doesn't, not for this kind of device. I don't want to have to take the dock with me when I travel, and with the old Shuffle I didn't even need to take a cable.
There's another downside: speed. Apple's website simply notes the Shuffle's need for a "USB port". Not USB 1.1. Not USB 2.0. Just USB. How come? The Shuffle's data transfer rate is faster than 1.1, slower than 2.0, preventing Apple from associating it with either. Tests suggest you should get around 36Mbps - three times USB 1.1's 12Mbps but a lot less than USB 2.0's 480Mbps.
Shuffle's data transfer rate & USB
While 36Mbps is a lot less than USB 2.0's theoretical max of 480Mbps... Nothing I've ever seen even comes close to 480Mbps.
It's the whole theoretical vs actual... The same sort of thing happens in Ethernet and probably lots of other things... On a good day, with all the right conditions, maybe you get 60% or 70% of Max.
So considering that the same is true for USB 1.1 ... 36Mbps transfer rates is a very significant improvement... And while it's not up to around the ~256Mbps (or so) Max USB 2.0 transfer rates seen in tests like:
Even a lot of those tests, the numbers for certain conditions fall significantly short... 36Mbps isn't great... but it's not all that bad. ;)
but how does it sound?
several muckworld (http://playlistmag.com/weblogs/ipodblog/2006/11/hissboo/) writers claim the new shuttle has a noisier more bandlimited amplifier than the prior generation. what say your reviewers?
Shuffle is great
I don't know what the first comment is talking about - I too have a first-gen iPod, and love it. I have never noticed it repeat songs in the same order - though if it was truly random that would occur sometimes.
It's a shame that the article doesn't mention the free engraving that Apple is offering at the moment - I got my daughter one for Christmas, and being able to engrave her name on the back is a wonderful bonus - no danger of it being nicked at school!
so far so good
This is the first mp3 player i've bought. But with the old minidisc walkman on its last legs and more and more of my music ending up on the computer, i thought it was worth a look.
Like the review says, it comes in the new nano packaging, which is painfully annoying if you don't notice the peel off sticker on the top in order to open the case!
The writers comment of the convience of the dock, well personally, I am at my computer at least once a day, so it isn't terribly inconvient for me to simply dock the shuffle and tell it to autofill / let it charge. Bearing in mind also, that the player is about the size of a 50p coin, the dock isnt that much bigger, so not really that much hassle in that respect.
I noticed a previous comment mentioned the old shuffles didn't remember where you were in a shuffled playlist, that doesn't appear to be a problem with this bad boy.
One thing I absolutely love about this is the little integrated clip. For those who carry around a walkman with an inline remote that you can clip onto your clothing, you'll find this very convenient. The clip isn't as tight or tense as i would like it, but its firm enough to keep it attached to you while on the move.
Overall, a neat little gadget worth getting providing your not worried about loosing it due to its size!
"shuffle" - really?
As an owner of the first incarnation of the so-called "shuffle" I've seriously considered complaining to the ASA about this misnomer. This device is not random at all but instead plays a pre-defined supposedly random order of tracks - as demonstrated when I listen to 10 songs, turn it off, turn it back on and have to skip past the same 10 songs in the same order despite being on "shuffle" mode both times.
Disappointing to say the least and the only reason I haven't gone elsewhere is due to the recharge-off-usb ability they've removed from the new one. Great move Apple - not.
Suffice to say I won't be buying another one, ever.